Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 78

S M A L L B U S I N E S S M AT T E R S

Rachel Smith and
Sarah Sprung work the
retail counter at Zick's
Specialty Meats.

78

Before he hung up, Zick asked the lady he was
ordering from a question.
" I asked her who could I talk to about
my jerky and snack sticks and she gave me a
name, " he recalled. " I sent them some samples
in hopes they would consider selling it. That
was my 'blue sky' business planning kicking
in. After 2 ½ weeks, I heard nothing back and
thought they just ate the free jerky. Then the
phone rang, and Cabela's asked me to send
some more samples. Again, I thought they just
wanted some free meat snacks.
" I asked why they wanted more samples
and they said it was to take pictures of them.
The representative said that the Cabela
brothers had gone north on a hunting trip and
took the samples in the refrigerator with them.
They apparently returned with the wrappers
and said they wanted to feature my beef and
buffalo products in their catalog. "
In the ensuing years, Cabela's wanted
more of Zick's sticks and similar meat snack

MEAT+ POULTRY | 02.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

items and the line was expanded to include
other exotic meats. For Zick, the time had
arrived to crank up production. The two brick
smokehouses he previously needed were
put on hold so he could purchase modern
thermal processing equipment, the latest of
which was a Kerres smokehouse he once only
dreamed about.
Then he added a KG Wetter angle mixer
grinder to help perfect his products further.
" I knew it was time for modern packaging
as well and we obtained VC999 rollstock
equipment, " he said. " My son Garrett came on
as the technical guy, new products manager
and is our vice president. My daughter Katie
(Tondy) began handling our mail order and
phone orders, while another daughter Sarah
(Sprung) took over the retail end and social
media, as well as our website. My wife Patricia
once worked at the store but has fulfilled
her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. My
mother Shirley Zick is now 86 years old, but
still comes in a few days a week to tackle
our bookwork and accounts. We have 13
employees including family. "
Operated under USDA inspection, Zick's
does a booming mail order trade. Most items
are available in 8-oz and 1-lb packages. There
is an $8 charge for shipping, unless the order
totals $35 or more. At that range, the shipping
is free to the customer.
The family business sells no meat items that
are not produced in their plant and believes
that product consistency using natural spices
and the highest quality meats is paramount. In
2015, Cabela's parted ways as the meat snack
part of the business was growing fast.
" It was a wonderful customer to have
during those years, " Zick said. " We learned a
lot having the opportunity to work with a firstclass company. "
Sportsmen can find a dream-come-true for
their wild game at Zick's. Although the shop
only accepts trimmed meats from hunters,
they promote those special items like finished
venison hams, smoked sausages and jerky and
they also cure and smoke wild turkeys. Zick's
even has its own wild game seasoning for sale.
For those wanting their meats privately
labeled to market for themselves, the company
features snack stick and chopped and formed
jerky production. Sausage chub and cheese gift
boxes are available during holiday periods.


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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
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Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 1
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http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2021_02_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2021_01_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_12_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_11_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_10_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_09_01
http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_08_01
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